A group of Australians, based in Sydney, have formed an association to support a group of women in Durban who are on the front line helping children that have been sexually and physically abused.
The South African organisation called Operation BobbiBear was founded by Jackie Branfield, who, together with her team, fights for the rights of sexually abused children. The women were the subject of a documentary called Rough Aunties, which was produced in 2008. The children receive counselling and use a hallmark ‘BobbiBear' soft toy to express what has happened to them.
Friends of Operation BobbiBear (FOOBB) is a not for profit association that aims to raise $1.5million and is filling shipping containers with donated materials to send to Operation BobbiBear.
The charity was started by David Poland in February after he watched the documentary.
How you can help?
Make a financial donation: www.givenow.com.au/friendsofbobbibear
Read about Operation BobbiBear: http://www.bobbibear.org.za/
Read about the Australian charity: http://www.friendsofoperationbobbibear.com/
Email the Australian charity: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Children of Operation BobbiBear
Tin Tin, now aged five, was born with foetal alcohol syndrome, experienced chronic asthma and learning difficulties from birth. She was sexually abused as a baby and left by her parents in a trash can when she was one year old.
A concerned passerby heard her cries and took her to the Operation BobbiBear Centre in Durban, where she was given shelter, food and love.
Operation BobbiBear has now found Tin Tin a permanent home, but she visits the Centre regularly and maintains a close connection to the women of BobbiBear.
Jaki and Jason are brothers, aged seven and nine, who were rescued from a caravan park where they were living with an old couple who received government handouts in return for their care. The boys were regularly beaten and sexually and verbally abused. They arrived at Operation BobbiBear angry, withdrawn and refusing physical contact.
The boys are living with a counsellor from the Centre until a permanent family is found.
Tandi, who is 13 and mentally handicapped, was hospitalised at the time of writing as she had been tied with rope to a post in a dilapidated tin shed. She was regularly raped. Tandi's parents have been arrested.